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Numark TTUSB tonearm adjustment
rocket_pc
post Jan 21 2010, 06:39
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Hi audiophiles, Thank you for your replies, Cliveb, Axon, and Krueger. To start off the year, I have been involved with several technical support issues of electronics things that I have. On the subject of the lp turntable testing disks, you have convinced me that the "Ultimate Analogue Test LP" would be a good investiment. The problem now isn't the cost of a test record, but the several testing instruments that may be required to conduct the tests offered by the tracks on this test LP.

For example, browsing through a list I found of tracks of this test LP, some of the test instruments that I had seen mentioned were: an oscilloscope, preamp adjustment (which is part of the usb turntable), AC millivolt meter, cartridge (part of the turntable, the tonearm), IMD tester, a Wow & Flutter meter, a stethoscope on the plinth (I've got a stethoscope) And I have seen mentioned someplace else, that a strobe light can be used for testing the turntable.

If all of the tracks of this LP require expensive instruments, then there would be no purpose in getting this test LP. Remember that my turntable is a Numark TTUSB, with limited, imprecise adjustments. (The tonearm weight is simply pushed back and forth. And the anti-skate dial appears to be a cheap recast of another dial.)

All I had planned for this turntable was to convert half a dozen Christmas records to digital (now for next year) and convert about a dozen other LPs to digital. I do have maybe a few hundred LPs, though I have little interest in most of the lot.

About reading on how to conduct these tests, Hydrogenaudio may be having some technical problem with their website, as some of the links on the knowledgebase are blank. I did find a site describing testing instruments: <http://collectingvinylrecords.blogspot.com/2009_04_05_archive.html>

So, are special instruments required? I would spend ten or fifteen dollars on a few instruments, but not the hundreds of dollars.


Below is a list of the tracks of the test LP, "Analogue Productions - The Ultimate Analogue Test LP". I removed all of the comments to save space here, and to avoid copyright infringement. The article in detail is at: <http://store.acousticsounds.com/index.cfm?get=detail&title_id=35532>


Side 1

Track 1 1Khz reference tone 7cm/s Mono, in phase (Lateral)

Track 2 1kHz reference level Left channel only

Track 3 1kHz reference level Right channel only

Track 4 1 kHz tone at -20 below reference level, Lateral

Track 5 10 kHz reference tone at -20dbu, Lateral

Track 6 1 kHz to 20 kHz sweep at -20dbu, Mono (Lateral)

Track 7 1 kHz to 20 Hz sweep at 0 VU (Lateral)

Track 8 100 Hz reference tone at 0 vu (Lateral)

Track 9 VTA adjust

Track 10 Standard Wow & Flutter test signal; 3150Hz

Side 2

Track 1 Anti-skating test; 315Hz amplitude sweep to +12dbu (Lateral)

Track 2 Pink noise lateral

Track 3 Pink noise vertical

Track 4 1kHz @ reference level, vertical

Track 5 1kHz to 10Hz sweep @ -20 below

Track 6 Silent groove for bearing rumble and table isolation



The above "The Ultimate Analogue Test LP" you mentioned is highly rated. What about this test LP, "Realistic Stereo Test Record Home & Lab Audiophile LP"? Are these tracks valuable and without requiring alot of testing instruments?

1. Speaker Phasing and Channel Identification, 2. Channel Balance, 3. Frequency Response, 4. Cartridge Evaluation, 5. Stereo Separation, 6. Stereo Spread, 7. Effective Hum, 8. Rumble, 9. Flutter.

Thank you for your time, helping with this.

Don





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Knowzy
post Jan 21 2010, 21:19
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QUOTE (cliveb @ Jan 12 2010, 01:34) *
You're using a Numark USB turntable. There's a limit to the quality of signal you can get from it.

Clive hit the nail on the head, in my opinion. No matter how well you tune this equipment, it isn't going to drastically improve the sound quality.

My advice- forget test records. Forget measurement equipment (with the possible exception of software).

Instead, invest up to $100 in a better cartridge and adjust the counterbalance and anti-skate using the "easy" method described by Axon and DVDdoug.

A better cartridge will result in the big improvement in sound quality you are seeking- more than any other turntable component and certainly more than any fine-tuning of the adjustments.

All of that measurement and adjustment will only improve the sound quality about 10% over a reasonably adjusted turntable (assuming you could put a number on "sound quality," broadly defined). Audiophiles (and 'philes in general) live to eek out that extra 10% of performance and will spend countless hours and dollars pursuing it.

If you want join them, you're in the right place. But you seem to be putting up resistance on the budgeting end. smile.gif
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rocket_pc
post Jan 22 2010, 02:16
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Hi Knowsy, I believe that you're the guy whom wrote the excellent website, explaining and comparing turntables, Knowsy.com. What a surprise! Glad to meet you.

Whether or not I have a problem with the budget, the point is it appears that purchasing the test record isn't all that is required to complete calibration of the turntable. Is this correct, or can I conduct the tests without purchasing instruments? AcousticSounds.com explains each track of the test record, "The Ultimate Analogue Test L" mentioning instruments as an oscilloscope, AC millivolt meter, IMD tester, a Wow & Flutter meter, a stethoscope "on the plinth." I've seen mentioned some other place the use of a strobe light. Can you tell me what instruments are required to complete these tests?

Don
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Knowzy
post Jan 22 2010, 06:27
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QUOTE (rocket_pc @ Jan 21 2010, 18:16) *
Hi Knowsy, I believe that you're the guy whom wrote the excellent website, explaining and comparing turntables, Knowsy.com. What a surprise! Glad to meet you.

One and the same. I appreciate the compliments. I got some of my earliest turntable education from the members of Hydrogen Audio. So, in turn, thanks HA!

QUOTE (rocket_pc @ Jan 21 2010, 18:16) *
Whether or not I have a problem with the budget, the point is it appears that purchasing the test record isn't all that is required to complete calibration of the turntable...Can I conduct the tests without purchasing instruments?

I think a lot of people use their ears. You can listen to a test LP online. I posted recordings from a roughly similar turntable- the Ion TTUSB05.

Software can do some of the measurements described in the track list for the Ultimate Test LP. Maybe even for free.

I would say the average turntable buyer, particularly in this price range, follows the counterbalance method described by DVDdoug, then the "easy" anti-skate method described Axon and nothing more.

The next adjustment seems to be alignment and, from what I hear, it's a project that takes commitment.

My point is that all this calibrating beyond the basic two steps won't buy you what a $40 to $100 cartridge will.

And once you have that cartridge, taking all those extra steps will be more satisfying.
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cliveb
post Jan 22 2010, 13:27
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QUOTE (Knowzy @ Jan 21 2010, 20:19) *
A better cartridge will result in the big improvement in sound quality you are seeking- more than any other turntable component and certainly more than any fine-tuning of the adjustments.

I respectfully disagree. Some cheap turntables have poor pickup arm bearings that mean no cartridge will be able to work at its best. If the arm is sufficiently poor, the cutoff point where a more expensive cartridge gives any improvement can be surprisingly low. I seriously doubt that anything better than a fairly entry-level moving magnet would be justified on a typical USB turntable.

QUOTE (Knowzy @ Jan 22 2010, 05:27) *
I would say the average turntable buyer, particularly in this price range...

What the average turntable buyer does should not necessarily be regarded as the recommended procedure :-)

QUOTE (Knowzy @ Jan 22 2010, 05:27) *
... follows the counterbalance method described by DVDdoug, then the "easy" anti-skate method described Axon and nothing more. The next adjustment seems to be alignment and, from what I hear, it's a project that takes commitment.

If by "alignment" you're referring to mounting the cartridge correctly in the headshell (ie. so that it is tangential to the groove at the two optimum points across the extent of the LP), then this is in fact the first thing to do, before you set tracking force and antiskating. To align the cartridge correctly requires the use of a simple protractor. (You can download one here).

You should also check that the cartridge is vertical when viewed head-on, although this is rarely adjustable except by adding thin shims. Fortunately even cheap pickup arms tend to be fairly level in this respect.

QUOTE (Knowzy @ Jan 22 2010, 05:27) *
My point is that all this calibrating beyond the basic two steps won't buy you what a $40 to $100 cartridge will.

A $20 cartridge correctly aligned will sound better than a $100 cartridge badly aligned. It's not difficult to get it right, so it's worth taking the trouble.

I agree that a test LP is probably not needed here. Get the cartridge properly aligned, set the tracking force to the top of the recommended range, then start playing some actual music LPs and adjust antiskating by ear. Find something like solo piano, play a fortissimo section, and set the antiskating so that the distorion is equal on both channels.
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Knowzy
post Jan 22 2010, 19:06
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QUOTE (cliveb @ Jan 22 2010, 05:27) *
I respectfully disagree. Some cheap turntables have poor pickup arm bearings that mean no cartridge will be able to work at its best...I seriously doubt that anything better than a fairly entry-level moving magnet would be justified on a typical USB turntable.

I can't argue with that and I didn't mean to imply that this turntable will do justice to an even half-way decent cartridge.

What I meant is something like a Shure M97xE at $60 would be a better investment than a test LP. It will open up the high end and reject surface noise better than Ion's iCT04 cartridge, which tracks at 3 - 5 grams.

I do believe you when you say the arm will prevent the cartridge from reaching it's potential.

QUOTE (cliveb @ Jan 22 2010, 05:27) *
If by "alignment" you're referring to mounting the cartridge correctly in the headshell...

Yep.

QUOTE (cliveb @ Jan 22 2010, 05:27) *
To align the cartridge correctly requires the use of a simple protractor. (You can download one here)... It's not difficult to get it right, so it's worth taking the trouble.

Obtaining the protractor is simple. Achieving proper tangential alignment, from what I've read, is tedious and requires much patience.

Many, if not most, cartridges don't even broach the subject of alignment in their manual. Here's Shure's cartridge setup instructions, for example.

There must be a "good enough" method of cartridge alignment for people who don't want to break out a protractor. Maybe mounting the cartridge at the absolute front of the headshell, ensuring that the cartridge is perfectly straight?

I realize overhang may come into play at this extreme. But a turntable in this price range doesn't offer guidance on overhang anyway.
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rocket_pc
post Jan 23 2010, 05:23
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Thank you very much for your replies. What I think I am going to do is get the free CX-1 cartridge, with rebate, from Numark. The ad said it is a $119 value. The rebate may be expired though - by only a few days. I would have sent it in right away, but it required the original UPC, which I may have needed for future business reference, and the photo of it looked sort of peculiar. If I don't get it, then I guess I'll check out the one you suggested, the Shure M97xE. In the meantime, I'll try out the one I have. Eventually, I'll probably get the the Ultimate Test LP suggested here - right away if I am convinced that it can be useful without alot of highly expensive testing instruments. Another $15 here and there for instruments won't be too much problem. In the meantime, I'll get the Radio Shack test LP, at five bucks, said in used but "excellent" condition, just to get an idea the state of my turntable.

Thank you very much for your comments and suggestions.

Don
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Knowzy
post Jan 23 2010, 22:09
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QUOTE (rocket_pc @ Jan 22 2010, 20:23) *
What I think I am going to do is get the free CX-1 cartridge, with rebate, from Numark. The ad said it is a $119 value...If I don't get it, then I guess I'll check out the one you suggested, the Shure M97xE.




It's hard to turn down free stuff, but the Numark CX-1 isn't the type of cartridge you want to preserve your records with.

It's a cartridge for DJs intended for "heavy scratching," which is pretty much what it will do to your records even without performing DJ acrobatics! smile.gif

Here's how the Shure M97xE compares to the CX-1:
  • Vertical Tracking Force (The amount of pressure the cartridge places on your records. The top of the range is generally considered optimum.)
    Shure: .75 to 1.5 grams, CX-1: 3 to 6 grams
  • Overall Weight
    Shure: 6.6 grams, CX-1: 19.9 grams
  • Stylus Tip Shape
    Shure: Elliptical, CX-1: Circular
  • Stylus Tip Radius
    Shure: .7 mil, CX-1: Not published but I'm guessing smaller to get deeper into the groove.
You're better off with the cartridge that came with the turntable.

Good luck.
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rocket_pc
post Jan 23 2010, 23:14
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Okay, I won't get that. How can they they even market DJ stuff in the same line as quality audio? Thats idiocy, scratching records.
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Knowzy
post Jan 23 2010, 23:28
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QUOTE (rocket_pc @ Jan 23 2010, 14:14) *
How can they they even market DJ stuff in the same line as quality audio? Thats idiocy, scratching records.

Well, Numark is a DJ equipment company, so they can be excused.

"Scratching records" has a somewhat different definition in a DJ'ing context. They're not making music by literally dragging the stylus across the record. More like rhythmic forward and reverse platter spinning motions.

Of course, scratching in any context is not good for your vinyl!
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arranzio
post Jan 29 2010, 12:59
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Hi Rocket

I just arrived here googleing, looking for information about how to adjust the antiskate in a Numark turntable, because a friend of mine asked me to help him, and I knew nothing about these DJ turntables.

Iíve learned a little more about antiskating, so, thanks to all who have helped Rocket!

Meanwhile, regarding your issues, I agree with the direction of the last posts comments. And I push them a little further, I mean, Iíll try focus in the ďpracticalĒ. Well, ďmy practicalĒ, different opinions may arise, haha.

1) The origin. Do you want just to digitalize your vinyl records? Two possibilities:

a. If your records can be found in CD format, they have been digitalized before by pros, from better sources, with very good equipment, thatís the CD. You will not be able to achieve this unless you make a very big investment and lots LOTS of hours learning and trying. So, I would look for an internet source and download them in compressed or uncompressed formats. From a normal internet music store (like iTunes, etc...), or from alternative sources (people sharing their digital music) (I would not be afraid about piracy issues in this case, because you have the vinyls already) (and I would avoid any further discussion about this in this forum.....). There are even people that are sharing their own vinyls digitalizations!

b. If your records are so rare (but probably arenít), that itís impossible to find them digitalized, then you will have to invest in your own equipment. But your starting point has been wrong. A Numark turntable is for DJís, not for pleasure listening, not for sound accuracy, not for taking care of your records. Itís just very good at Djeing. I saw a couple of Numark turntable at my friendís house yesterday, and Iím pretty sure about that.

2) The equipment. If you have arrived here, you probably still need to digitalize your own records, or, it should be a good idea, you plan to listen your vinyl records for pleasure - wink.gif -. To digitalize youíll need, absolutely:

a. a good vinyl. If your vinyl is very scratched, or very dirty (you should clean it up), or has been used 1000 times, itís likely the sound will not be pleasant enough. And if itís not, the digitalization would not be good. You can use software to dissimulate clics and tics of dirt and scratches, but, itís extra work, and youíre modifying the source. Itís like scanning a picture, if your scanner glass is clean, youíll spare time and have better results from the beginning.

b. a good analogic equipment. It does not mean expensive equipment. Any entry level for audiophiles would be far better than the Numark. Suggestions? Lots of them. Iím saying some examples, to take an start, then you can investigate through the web (if you have enough time, lots of choices)

i. Turntable. Any entry level of brands like Rega, Project, Thorens, ... Or second hand, thereís plenty of them, just buy them from specialists that know theyíre in good shape. About the Numark, if itís new, you can sell it again easily, I think. Thatís an idea, donít get angry..... I only found the right way until I bought my third turntable (lot of years with bad turntable, and bad stylus choices, I had to change to learn it). If you can get the Pro-ject entry level where you live, probably itís the cheapest choice. In every brand line, the more you pay, the more you get, but only for digitalizing..., some cheap one will suffice. Just to take a look, http://www.project-audio.com/main.php?prod...les&lang=en this one has USB, see below.... If you read their FAQ, and turntable Manual, etc, you can easily learn a few more things about turntables. This one maybe around 450 $, and without the USB, it should around 300$.

ii. Tonearm. Just keep with the one provided with the turntable. Theyíre not shining ones in the entry level turntables, but are good enough (and far far better that the one in the Numark) (bearings, balancing, etc...).

iii. Cartridge + stylus. If you can choice, the stylus should be elliptical, not conical. The moving magnet technology is your choice. There are better, but far more expensive. Again, entry level cartridges and stylus from good brands, are very good, and far better that the ones in the Numark. As someone wrote before, compare the tracking force of djís stylus (about 4 grams), and audiophile stylus (about 1 gram). The audiophile ones are more sensible, take more care of your vinyls, give more detail, depth, etc etc etc
Typical brands for cartridges: Shure, Ortofon, Goldring. Iím particularly fond with Grado cartridges, which equal results comparing to much more expensive stylus, but beware, these brand uses unique technology with unshielded cartridge: it means than any average magnetic field nearby would add a noise hum (hummmmm) to your system. In practical, it just means that using a Grado involves to use a turntable which engine is NOT below the plate, but to the corner of the tunrtable (opposite to the stylus corner); and that the turntable must to be placed at least 15 cm from the amplifier, the speaker, or any equipment with magnets or engines; not difficult though.

iv. Cables. The typical thin and black ones, with red and white plastic coaxial connector, are easily improved with any entry level cable (like Van Den Hul, Shure, etc..., or whatever cheap one recommends to you in a specialized shop). But the cables issue are not as important as the previous points, mainly i. and iii. points. And probably, with entry level turntables, they have the interconnect cables hard wired to the turntable, so, you can forget about it.

3) The digitalization. OK: you want to convert an analogic sound to ď0Ēís and ď1Ēí. This is A WORLD. Youíll always lose informations, the question is lose the least and the less importants.

a. If your modern (and good, entry level audiophile) turntable has an integraded digital-analog converter, with an USB output, it should be good, probably, but I have no idea of their quality. Maybe someone knows here an audiophile turntable with integrated digitalization.

b. The named digital-analog is an issue. There are very different quality types. So, if you donít have an internal digital-analog converter, or if someone tells you that the internal in the turntable of your choice, is not very good, you should go to PC:

i. PC, with a good soundcard, will do the job. There are plenty of average to good soundcards. I believe that the chances to have a decent soundcard in a PC are higher that the ones integrated into the turntable. But Iíve not enough experience with this. The card in a MAC would be good enough; and if you use a PC, a mid range one would be good too. No more ideas about it.

ii. Amplification. Remember, you donít need this if your turntable has built-in analog/digital converter, with USB output. You will need to amplify the signal from your turntable, before you put it into the PC (analog jack):

1. with your own amplifier, through the REC / OUT (TAPE), or whatever name has your amplifier for output signal (the not amplified one, and not the speaker signal, of course).

2. If you donít have amplifier, then, at least you need a phono amplifier (they are good, and cheaper than buying an amplifier, if you donít need an amplifier for any more purposes). If a friend has a ďminiamplifierĒ for earphones, you may try it how it sounds (just a silly idea, maybe, because Iíve never tried it).

iii. Digitalization software. In your PC / MAC. I only know the Roxyo one issued for MAC, which is very good. There are a lot more solutions in the market. Just google.

AND THATíS IT. These are my ideas, and maybe you can find some of them useful.

Best regards

Albert
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Knowzy
post Jan 30 2010, 02:05
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Hi Albert,

Welcome to HA.

That is a lot to digest! And that's coming from someone who is pretty verbose himself! smile.gif

Nonetheless, I read it all and it's pretty accurate and good advice. Stick around and you can learn some of the finer points of tonearms, pre-amps and equalization. I learn new things about vinyl here every time I show up.

I'm not going to address everything point-by-point but a couple jump out:

QUOTE (arranzio @ Jan 29 2010, 03:59) *
If a friend has a "miniamplifier" for earphones, you may try it how it sounds (just a silly idea, maybe, because I've never tried it).

This isn't going to work because the equalization will be horribly out of whack. Phono pre-amps raise the low frequencies and attune the highs along the RIAA equalization curve. Some people use a microphone pre-amp and correct the equalization in software (called a "flat transfer").

No matter how you go about it, equalization is required to avoid the ear-piercing highs cut into each and every vinyl record.

QUOTE (arranzio @ Jan 29 2010, 03:59) *
iii. Digitalization software. In your PC / MAC. I only know the Roxyo one issued for MAC, which is very good. There are a lot more solutions in the market. Just google.

FYI: You are among quite a few software developers who write programs that directly or indirectly help digitize vinyl, including Clive and Axon who contributed to this thread!

Take care,
Jeff
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arranzio
post Jan 30 2010, 02:34
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Thanks for your comments, Jeff.

Yes pretty long, but after reading all the issue, with such complications for a simple task, and not apropiate hardware, wellÖ let's try it, maybe rocket reads and agrees, or not.

I'm just entry level (or medium, depending of whom to compare, lol). So, I'll learn a lot here, I see.

Thanks for your advice about earphone preamps.

ABout digitalizing software, well, I've never used it! So I just have bare ideas laugh.gif

Until know, I've not digitalized a vinyl. I just listen to them. But one day may come that a friends asks for some digital that does not exist, I'°ll know where to look for good advice!

Starting by the wiki or the faq, which seems rather interesting.

Regards

Albert
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rocket_pc
post Jan 30 2010, 18:15
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Hi all,

I aggree that this Numark is a lousy turntable, but that is because it has poor design and engineering. From my recollection, the Knowzy website shows that this turntable is for digital conversion, rather than for DJ. Why they had advertised a rebate for a free DJ cartridge for purchase of this turntable, I don't know, other than maybe they were trying to get rid of it.

This Numark is belt driven, whereas djs prefer direct drives. On some websites, belt driven is preferred by people recording the music because it is said to minimize transmission of noise from the motor. However, on this Numark, it is more of a large rubberband than a "belt." If anybody has seen how rubberbands melt when fastened to something over time, this rubberband belt is going to deteriorate, changing the turntable speed. A "belt" should have been something like the belt in an automobile radiator fan with cloth or fiber woven into it, and wrapped around a smaller disk or gear whereas this Numark band is wrapped around the outer edge of the platter.


- Many of these albums aren't in CD or are difficult to find. For example, none of the xmas albums are in CD. Some of the classical albums I have may be in CD, but are difficult to find.
- With many dozens, of hundreds of albums I have, why should I pay $15 - 25 dollars (totaling several hundred dollars) for CDs when I can convert the albums I have to CDs.
- CDs from music produced in contempory digital studios may be high quality, but I have found some CDs from old analogue music have been very poor quality. The CD producers may have taken care in making quality conversions for major musicians, but poorly for less popular musicians. I should get better quality from my own conversions than the commercial CDs.

Hey, I am not about to buy another turntable. The turntable and the box it came in is huge, and would cost as much as it is worth to ship it, if I resold it. I got screwed, but please don't rub it in. I am going to do the best I can with it. I'll look up the specs on the existing cartridge. If it appears it would cause damage to my vinyls or is of poor quality, then I'll get another cartridge. And I'll also get some sort of test record.

Right now, I am recovering from a computer crash and got other things to attend. It is past time for converting the Christmas albums, with 11 months until next season, but I'll have to at least, test the turntable, in the next few weeks.

Thank you, hydrogenaudio audiophiles, for your help.

Don



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cliveb
post Jan 31 2010, 10:54
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QUOTE (rocket_pc @ Jan 30 2010, 17:15) *
This Numark is belt driven, whereas djs prefer direct drives. On some websites, belt driven is preferred by people recording the music because it is said to minimize transmission of noise from the motor.

The Belt Drive v. Direct Drive debate can get almost as religious as digital v. analogue in the audio world. It is possible to build turntables ranging from very poor to exceptionally good quality using either technology. It's all down to the engineering, not the method.

QUOTE (rocket_pc @ Jan 30 2010, 17:15) *
However, on this Numark, it is more of a large rubberband than a "belt." If anybody has seen how rubberbands melt when fastened to something over time, this rubberband belt is going to deteriorate, changing the turntable speed. A "belt" should have been something like the belt in an automobile radiator fan with cloth or fiber woven into it, and wrapped around a smaller disk or gear whereas this Numark band is wrapped around the outer edge of the platter.

While it is quite possible that the implementation of belt drive on this Numark is poor, none of the factors you mention are intrinsically bad. Virtually all belt drive turntables use a "rubber band". Sometimes the belt has a flat cross-section, sometimes round. Usually the rubber is a fairly special composition, but I've never seen a turntable drive belt that has fabric woven into it. Driving the outer edge of the platter is not an issue: some of the very finest turntables do just that.

QUOTE (rocket_pc @ Jan 30 2010, 17:15) *
- CDs from music produced in contempory digital studios may be high quality, but I have found some CDs from old analogue music have been very poor quality.

No argument there. Many CD re-releases are significantly worse than the original vinyl, so in those cases it is worth doing a transfer.

QUOTE (rocket_pc @ Jan 30 2010, 17:15) *
Hey, I am not about to buy another turntable.

But you say that you have hundreds of albums to do. In that case, it really is worth reconsidering the playback hardware. A secondhand Rega/Dual/Thorens/etc and a decent phono preamp needn't cost the Earth, and the results will be so much better.
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rocket_pc
post Jan 31 2010, 12:05
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Hi cliveb,

I wouldn't conclude that this Numark TTUSB is a dj turntable, simply because the company had produced a dj cartridge for it.

I'll have to test this turntable, this winter, before jumping to conclusions and shopping for another. I had tried to convert vinyl to digital several years ago, failing, after much time into it. I had used an analogue turntable - a Kenwood - with a preamp and cords and cables from Best Buy, connecting to the 900 mghz computer I had at that time. I tried several variations of connecting the cords, the computer control panel settings, etc, to no avail. I suspect that the problem was that the computer operating system was Millenium Edition, as some people have suggested had been the source of other problems of this sort. I don't want to get involved with this previous turntable setup as an issue, as that is bygone. I have that turntable packed away on the shelf, in a box. If the Numark results are unsatisfactory, then maybe I'll try out this Kenwood with preamp and cables on my new computer, with XP. For now, the Numark is going to be much easier with USB and Audiocity software.

Thank you for your comments.



Don

PS - I believe that a new cartridge for the Numark may not be enough, as the tonearm has limited adjustment - only sliding the counterweight back and forth with fingers, although DVDdoug, or others here had spoken of adjustments with the tonearm as it is.


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cliveb
post Feb 1 2010, 10:39
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QUOTE (rocket_pc @ Jan 31 2010, 11:05) *
I wouldn't conclude that this Numark TTUSB is a dj turntable, simply because the company had produced a dj cartridge for it.

I'm not assuming it is a DJ turntable (although Numark are primarily known for DJ equipment). As far as I'm aware, it's a typical example of a USB turntable aimed at the digital transfer market.

QUOTE (rocket_pc @ Jan 31 2010, 11:05) *
I had used an analogue turntable - a Kenwood .... I have that turntable packed away on the shelf, in a box.

Now this is an important piece of information. Kenwood equipment was known as "Trio" here in the UK back in the 1970s and 1980s, and I seem to recall their stuff was actually pretty good. If your Kenwood is of that vintage, chances are that it may well be a half-decent turntable. Definitely worth unpacking it and taking a look. Maybe you could post a few photos of it here so we can get a feel for what type of turntable it is.
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Knowzy
post Feb 1 2010, 20:40
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QUOTE (rocket_pc @ Jan 30 2010, 09:15) *
The Knowzy website shows that this turntable is for digital conversion, rather than for DJ.

Any turntable can be used for digital conversion. The USB connection and built-in pre-amp simply offers convenience.

Most of the best built USB turntables are DJ turntables, for better or worse. I devote an entire section in the guide explaining what to do with a DJ turntable if you're using it for vinyl archiving, rather than DJ'ing

QUOTE (rocket_pc @ Jan 30 2010, 09:15) *
Hey, I am not about to buy another turntable...I got screwed, but please don't rub it in.

I don't mean to rub salt in your wounds. For this price range, you did pick one of the best USB turntables. You avoided getting ceramic cartridge. You got a turntable with anti-skate adjustment and you can even upgrade the cartridge (though Clive seems to be saying upgrading it is of limited benefit).

You may find the sound quality acceptable, particularly if you don't want to go through the trouble to revive the old Kenwood. Listen to some samples of the Ion TTUSB05 to get an idea of what to expect. It uses the same cartridge and a plastic platter. Yours will likely sound a bit better because the Numark TTUSB has a better (big assumption here) "S"-style tonearm where the Ion TTUSB05 a straight-bodied tonearm.

QUOTE (rocket_pc @ Jan 31 2010, 03:05) *
I had used an analogue turntable - a Kenwood

QUOTE (cliveb @ Feb 1 2010, 01:39) *
Kenwood equipment was known as "Trio" here in the UK back in the 1970s and 1980s, and I seem to recall their stuff was actually pretty good.

I browsed a half-dozen models of Kenwood turntables over at VinylEngine. Every single one looked better than the Numark TTUSB.

First off, there are no plastic platters among them.

I was amazed at the Wow & Flutter ratings for these turntables- almost all below .1%, with direct drive models significantly lower.

The worst Kenwood models had S/N ratios in the high 40's, most were much higher. Numark doesn't list any specs but the Audio-Technica AT-LP2D-USB, which is better constructed than the TTUSB, is 50dB.

You have a clearly better turntable in your attic and it would likely take minimal refurbishing. It's certainly worth considering.


QUOTE (rocket_pc @ Jan 31 2010, 03:05) *
I believe that a new cartridge for the Numark may not be enough, as the tonearm has limited adjustment - only sliding the counterweight back and forth with fingers, although DVDdoug, or others here had spoken of adjustments with the tonearm as it is.

The TTUSB has both counterbalance and anti-skate. Those two adjustments are enough to allow you to install a different cartridge.

You have been very patient with us as we enumerate your turntables shortcomings and I hope we weren't too hard on you. If you decide the sound quality isn't good enough out of the box, there are a lot of great suggestions here to improve it. Personally, I'm hoping you break out that Kenwood.

Jeff
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rocket_pc
post Feb 2 2010, 06:23
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Thank you for your replies. I've got a couple reports to do, and the Super Bowl is this weekend. But I'll at least see if I can find the user manual to the Kenwood, to find the model number and specs, and post it tommorrow morning.

From looking at the shelf, my estimate is that I have over four hundred albums. There is only a small part of the collection that I would be interested in converted to CD, since most of them are 70s music that I would care the least for listening. I am definitly going to convert the Beatles, Rolling Stones and any other sixties music I may have there, but only half a dozen at a time over the next year.

Don


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rocket_pc
post Feb 3 2010, 01:34
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My digital camera is malfunctioning. Reading from the front and back of the turntable:

Kenwood Automatic Turntable KD-291R
"Belt Drive Turntable"
AC 120V, 4W, 60Hz E85649
54400 RC


The preamp that I bought for it:

Recoton Stereo Pre-Amplifier Model SP-2



The tonearm style is straight. Appears to have non-adjustable counterweight, no antiskate. Steel/metal platter.


Don
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Knowzy
post Feb 3 2010, 06:37
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QUOTE (rocket_pc @ Feb 2 2010, 16:34) *
Reading from the front and back of the turntable:

Kenwood Automatic Turntable KD-291R

...The preamp that I bought for it:

Recoton Stereo Pre-Amplifier Model SP-2

I found the manual for the Kenwood KD-291R. Be forewarned: It's a several step process to download and you don't have to give them your e-mail address to continue.

The Kenwood does have an aluminum platter but no anti-skate.

Replacing the stylus is pretty standard advice after more than a decade or two in storage. I don't think replacing the cartridge is an option here- permanent mount.

The KD-291 uses an N-74 (or N-76) stylus, which looks to be conical. There are elliptical tip replacements for around $30.

The pre-amp was selling as recently as 2007 on Amazon for around $20.

Also up for consideration: The sound card in the "new PC with XP."

I'm starting to root for the Numark again.

Two things that hold me back from wholeheartedly siding with the Numark:
  1. Numark's "GrooveTool" cartridge pre-mounted on the TTUSB has a tracking force range of 3 to 5 grams, according to the manual. I expect the Kenwood uses less tracking force. Its modern replacement cartridge is Audio-Technica's 3600, with a range of 1.5 to 2.5 grams. Then again, the AT-LP2D-USB turntable also uses the 3600 and it came in at 4.54 grams when I measured it.
  2. Kenwood's aluminum platter over Numark's plastic.

Despite its limitations, I think the Numark TTUSB is the better choice for a once-through digitization. But whenever I say something so assuredly here, someone throws me a curve ball! smile.gif
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cliveb
post Feb 3 2010, 10:01
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QUOTE (Knowzy @ Feb 3 2010, 05:37) *
I'm starting to root for the Numark again.

Having taken a look at the manual for your KD291R, I am inclined to agree with Knowzy - that is, if we're talking about a straight preference between the Kenwood and Numark. This particular Kenwood appears to be a cheap and inflexible turntable, with an extremely dubious-looking pickup arm. Shame - they also made some very good units, and we were all hoping you had one of those.

I'm still of the opinion that if you want to transfer hundreds of LPs, it would be worth investing in a secondhand decent turntable to start with (Rega, Dual, Project, Thorens, etc).
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rocket_pc
post Feb 3 2010, 17:29
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Thank you for your replies. Jotted down the info on the Kenwood; Didn't get around to finding the paper edition of the manual; Thank you for finding the link to it; Haven't yet found the online specs for the Numark; nothing at their sales website that shows the cartridge specs.

The Kenwood may be a good playing turntable for a stereo system, though I'll have to make sure that it doesn't damage the records. The tonearm is very light, with counterweight on it. I may give it to somebody at a farmhouse, for a stereo system. I got the Kenwood about ten years ago at Circuit City. It was on sale at 75 dollars, original price probably at 125 or more.

I am glad you are favoring the Numark, because I wasn't planning on going back to all the hassle of setting up the line in, with preamp on the Kenwood, and then probably having to get more stuff for it. If I decide the existing Numark cartridge is safe to use on LPs, I'll use it for the conversions. CDs are only about 15 or 20 cents each, though I'd probably convert them to mp3s. I am not converting the whole collection; only a few at a time. And can reconvert them later, if I think I can improve upon them. The Numark is going to be much more convenient with its built-in preamp and USB linein, is new, with new "belt" and motor, and has some adjustment to its counterweight and antiskate, it'll be okay for awhile. Note that the Numark has an aluminum platter. If the results from the Numark are absolutely terrible, then I may consider the second hand turntables you mentioned. I mainly wanted to convert the Christmas records, but those holidays are now over.

Thank you for your help. I'll report back on the results or problems, in a couple weeks. Until then, getting a test record, evaluating the cartridge if neccessary for upgrade.

Don

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Knowzy
post Feb 3 2010, 23:08
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QUOTE (rocket_pc @ Feb 3 2010, 08:29) *
Haven't yet found the online specs for the Numark; nothing at their sales website that shows the cartridge specs.

Numark doesn't publish specs for the GrooveTool cartridge. The 3 - 5 gram tracking force range I cited comes from the TTUSB manual.

What's funny is their comparison of Numark cartridges- it shows detailed specs for every one except the GrooveTool.

QUOTE (rocket_pc @ Feb 3 2010, 08:29) *
Note that the Numark has an aluminum platter.

How did I miss that? My bad. I updated comparison table #3 at Knowzy to reflect an aluminum platter on the Numark TTUSB.
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rocket_pc
post Feb 10 2010, 10:48
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Hi all, I'm back, for a moment.

Up front, the purpose of my posting today, is to ask anybody here about a quality, (but in the budget range of thirty dollars, no more than fifty for the whole tonearm/cartridge) replacement of this "groove tool" on my Numark TTUSB?


From my recollection, I had made the decision to purchase the Numark TTUSB, in part because of the Knowzy website. In this Hydrogenaudio thread, your link showing a Numark website link of all its cartridges as DJ, and even that the cartridge on mine is called a "groove tool," had taken me by surprise.

The Knowzy website had a tool for sorting out turntables according to their features. I had chosen obviously to keep out DJ turntables, and believe that the Numark was listed after cutting out the DJ turntables. I wouldn't have purchased the Numark TTUSB turntable if I had thought it was a DJ turntable.

Many features of this Numark point to a non-DJ turntable: Antiskate adjustment, tonearm weight adjustment, the S-shaped tonearm, the belt drive instead of direct drive, the USB linein input. Another website suggested that the aluminum platter was a good feature for fine quality. This "groove tool" DJ cartridge thing came out of obscurity.

I don't want to grind out the threads on my vinyls with this groove tool. Can anybody tell me of a a quality cartridge to replace the cartridge that is on my turntable? I'd rather replace the tonearm, while replacing the cartridge, to be certain that the cartridge matches the tonearm, and tonearm that has fine adjustment of the counterweight than this groove tool/ tonearm. Anything in the budget range of thirty dollars? (no more than fifty for the whole tonearm/cartridge).



I don't have any interest in DJ turntables, nor getting into it. The impression I got of DJ turntables is of how some photographers were playing with photographic film after digital cameras came in, rubbing the photographic film during processing, mutilation, etc to create "artsy" images, using up extra film they had around. In the same way, "DJs", with the arrival of CDs and digital music replacing LPs, were abusing LP records and turntables, scratching the records and putting their hands on the platter to make odd sounds. Because DJs were making their income from playing for parties, group functions, etc, they were spending money on turntables. Turntable producers therefore gained a market, producing "DJ" turntables. Just because turntable producers are making alot of money from these turntables doesn't mean that these turntables should be pushed onto the market of consumers of quality turntable music.

Don



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